Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Convention Update of August: EternalCon and LIRGE



I told everyone it was coming, so now here's a bit of coverage on two conventions that I visited across the summer, one in late June, the other in mid August.

The first of these was, of course, Eternal Con. Unlike 2018's, this Long Island-based convention didn't have much in the way of good opportunities for quality cosplay shots as being a comic-focused convention it's limited to (for the most part) people in skintight bodysuits/outfits. Sure they get the job done but as someone that goes to at most three anime-themed conventions a year, attending the likes of CPAC and AnimeNext and then going to a local low-priced comic convention is a bit disappointing.

And disappointing may sadly be what it was- Sure it wasn't as bad as some of the smaller bite-sized comic conventions I've found myself going to, but it felt much more commercial and merchandise-driven compared to prior years. Even the artist's alley, the highlight of nearly every convention I attend, felt bare and smaller in scale compared to last year's. I commissioned a few artists, grabbed some pics, and left with my feet acing me from five hours of walking on pure cold-stone cement- and like most cons the only place you could sit and rest was on said cold-hard cement, unless you went to the tabletop gaming section that is. As for the food.

So yeah, it was mostly nothing special- I could have skipped it and it probably would not have changed anything, but I had some friends there in the artists' alley so I went mostly for their sake.


Two months later, I attended Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2019, which in some ways was a much bigger and robust convention than last year's. They got in some new, high-profile guests along with the return of Vinesauce, some new consoles unseen in prior years being demoed (including the ZX Spectrum), and alongside the endless array of arcade games, an entire section devoted to pinball. Now that last addition was significant, as it skyrocketed attendance to a much higher number compared to 2018's, and more people being aware of what was unfolding down at the expo invited a lot more of them in. It was so crowded that in the pinball section, all of the tables were almost never un-occuped, and they contained some rather uncommon finds (an intentional choice by the one that brought in the pinball tables). There were other arcade machines and pinball tables, but they were in the tournament play section and not available to the typical visitor.

The third floor's PC section from last year also remained, in which I briefly showcased Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch (mistakingly labeled in the computers' game select menu as the average-looking-in-quality Mega Man 2.5D) and to my surprise the game caught on with a fair number of people exploring the third floor, though the ones that tried the game struggled with getting used to the default controls and weapon-switching mechanics. As for the rest of the con, there were three 16-player LAN-powered Mario Kart: Double Dash tournaments on the second floor (the first time I ever saw proper LAN play for that game) and a group of people also on the second floor that played remixes of video game OST's, until for whatever reason they proceeded to full-blast the volume for about 30 minutes to an hour tops- forcing me to cover my ears whenever I walked nearby the corner on the balcony with the music playing. At least the food selection was good, provided you were willing to step outside and check out the food trucks.

Otherwise, Long Island Retro Gaming Expo is a good convention I wouldn't mind visiting again, provided you remember to pack earplugs.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Remembering 8bit Revenge

Since I seem to do a lot of posts based on things that are long gone, forgotten, or defunct since the late 2000's, here's another thing that I had a bit of nostalgia for while growing up in my teens.

In around 2008, I found a small Youtube channel that went by the name "8bit Revenge", which catered around the misadventures of a group of video-gaming friends playing together and having a lulzy good time. There was a hefty period where no new content was being produced, with only a selection of episodes/episode parts and some highlight reels being present on the channel. Now if you try to search the name, you get nothing, and Google only produces generic results that have no relation to the original group.

The only remnant of what once was the 8bit Revenge team is this, the theme song composed by 8bit bEtty used in the openings of their show where the members each picked up various controllers for a variety of gaming consoles form the third to seventh generations and making poses on their couch before their mascot (a sexy girl standing next to their personal logo) popped up. Since web archives are not powerful enough to save entire videos, all of their content sans the theme song are now 100% lost.

Through the power of memory, I can recite some of the moments the 8bit Revenge crew's Youtube had posted over time:

  • A two-player Cooking Mama: Cook Off session
  • Some four-player Diddy Kong Racing on Windmill Plains with varied vehicles
  • Some two-player Rock N' Roll Racing followed by some co-op of the SNES version of Beavis and Butthead
  • Robocop on the NES, but with horribly corrupted graphics
  • A sped-up Mario Paint session set to the absolutely rocking Blast Off, also by 8bit bEtty
All the video game footage was shot off a camera stationed on a tripod instead of direct capturing, and the episode segments that weren't just the highlights featured two of the cast chatting on the couch. All I remember was one of the members having a FLCL t-shirt and not much else, other than there being about six members total. They may have had a site of some kind or a presence on some sort of pre-Youtube video-sharing site that got deleted when the Youtube channel was made, but I cannot conform nor deny this.

Anyways that's all I have to say on 8bit Revenge. Will more info on them ever pop up or will we ever get to see their content properly archived for all to watch? That I have no idea on.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Olleh

Just making a quick post to let you all know that I'll be sharing my thoughts on Eternal Con along with Long Island Retro Gaming Expo sometime next month.

Now if you'll excuse me, I got this one long-gone Youtube channel that I used to watch back in late middle and early high school on the mind.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Convention Experience: CPAC and AnimeNEXT



Well, it's June, and that means my two biggest cons for the first half of the year came and went. And with them came lots of artists, commissioned work, and lots and lots of cosplay. Before I get into the meat of this blog entry, here's direct links to the cosplay photo albums of CPAC and AnimeNEXT.

Castle Point Anime Con 2019

AnimeNEXT 2019

Both collections were filled with amazing cosplayers and I caught a hefty number of shots across the two of them (then again there's only so much a phone cam can do even if it's a brand new model I got for Christmas). It's always great to see the creativity that goes into the cosplays and the various characters they represent (even if My Hero Academia easily dominates the cosplay scene, just look at all the Dekus and the Bakugos running around)

Anyways onto the events themselves, starting with Castle Point. I went there Saturday on Day 1 and compared to last year, it felt much more crammed in. The fabric walls dividing the different parts of the convention looked like they were much closer together, and the repositioning of the artist's alley, dealer's room, and the arcade threw me in for a bit of a loop. Lines still existed for the dealer's room and the artist's alley for crowd control, even if the Meadowlands Expo Center didn't (as far to my knowledge) have the same extreme fire safety in place as the Stevens Institute of Technology. The food inside the building remained as crappy as ever, though I did get a quick glimpse at some decent dining options within walking distance.

Because of the size of the expo center, panels were divided between the main building and the nearby Holiday Inn. Yes, I actually went to some panels- moreso because the people hosting them were friends I knew. They were good watches, especially the rhythm gaming panel for being very informative and the "Dad" panel for giving me a good laugh. And before I miss it, the arcade was your typical stash of rhythm games and a number of console fighting games.

Overall the convention was good and the visit was worth it, even if it may not be able to catch the magic of the times when the convention was at the Stevens Institute of Technology (though with the con now being inside a large building, they don't have to worry about it getting rained out).

Next up is AnimeNEXT, which I attended on the second day (leading to scenarios where I had to watch people on Facebook posting about how much fun it was). Compared to the previous year, the convention didn't change much, though they went back to making the arcade separate from the dealer's room and artist's alley and let attendees leave through a standard exit instead of walking through the arcade. The bathrooms of the convention got a well-needed update and there were, well, still no good dining options within the con despite the plentiful amount of drinking water thanks to the fountains scattered about. So with no other options I took a lunchbreak partway through to grab a quick bite at a nearby Applebees.

As per usual, none of the panels at the convention interested me enough to make me want to go out of my way to see one. As for the artists, I passed on getting prints as my collection was getting quite err... big (I've been getting prints since 2016, give me a break!). Aside from that, I tried to make my visit worthwhile, so I stayed until the sun went fully down before I headed to the arcade to watch everyone get their game on (including some Smash Bros. Ultimate action) before finishing up cosplay photos and heading out to the parking garage under the convention center to drive the four hours back home. The convention center itself retains that nice, clean atmosphere from previous years, so much so that I went out of my way to get a couple decent shots of the center during my visit throughout the day- from when I arrived at around noon-ish to when night came and I departed soon after.

AnimeNEXT was a great time, even if I decided to go for a different focus and do photography more than artist meet and greets (there were so many artists in the artist's alley that they all just sotra blended in together).

So there's a review of my first two conventions- the next two I have are local experiences and I plan on sharing my experiences with those conventions sometime in August before I have two back-to-back conventions in October and November.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart: Super Mario Kart Characters Pack

A while back you probably have seen me mention a game called Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart. I was routinely creating characters for the game until I decided to go on hiatus to focus on other projects, including but not limited to trying to work more on artwork, produce more sprite sheets for a site known as The Spriters' Resource, and work on my Splatoon 2 skills. Plus my workspace (aka my bedroom) was renovated over the course of eight days, resulting in me having to abandon it for almost all of the previous week.

Now I'm back, and my time has been swallowed up still by other things, but I'm still not feeling the drive to work on more SRB2Kart characters. Yes they're in production, but lack of motivation is leading to them taking longer than I hoped to finish them.

Anyways, back on topic. Before announcing the semi-hiatus I was suggested by my friend MMG Mike to adapt all eight of the racers from Super Mario Kart into Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart. Normally, something like this wouldn't be allowed on the SRB2Kart message board thanks to them being sprite rips, so I had to rely on other means of getting them out into the wild, and I figured this blog would be perfect place to host the project.



So I took a sprite-rip of the eight Super Mario Kart racers I had on hand (but don't remember where I got them from), carefully aligned them, gave them recoverable bits, Mario Kart 64 voices, and (courtesy of community member Tiniest Turtles) mini-map icons, and then declared them finished.

All the characters are given stats that best replicate their stats from their source game, though they should be easier to control now that you're dealing with a more modern, less dated drifting system.

=Download= (V1.0h)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Otaku Ball Public Beta Build.

Greetings, readers.
A while back you may remember a project of mine that has gone between being worked on and going on hiatus. It did get a release some time ago but since then- many, many more features have been added to it since then.

Of course I'm talking about my Otaku-Ball (or of you wanted to be technical, Geek-Ball or Nerd-Ball) project, a love letter and tribute to a plethora of Breakout and Arkanoid clones, worked on by Mr. Block (seriously, give him all the credit for the coding, the guy's a genius and deserves all the respect) and myself.

If you're wondering what has changed, lots of things actually. The title screen got a big overhaul, some new sound effects and sprite work were added in, new enemy varieties based on the original four Arkanoid enemies now join the Menacers, and the single-player campaign now has 96 total levels to explore across multiple pathways (it would have a NG+ with all new worlds/levels but that will be for a later release) Plus a few squashed bugs/issues.



So yeah take this as a treat from myself to show what has changed since the project's humble beginnings in 2014 (and pre-planning going to as far back as 2007 before the project had a definite name in 2011) and the first public release in 2017.

Take note that this is technically a beta, so expect there to be the occasional game-breaking bug looming about, but for the most part it should be stable and perfectly functional. Plus my social media links and e-mail are always open if you catch a bug.

Download the current build here.
You will also need LÖVE.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Business Cards?

Yup, you heard that right. Around the time of AnimeNYC last year I developed a prototype design for a business card I could pass out.





I haven't gotten around to giving them a test print run since admittedly I don't really have much a use for them just yet (and I'm not sure what I would use to get them printed).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

10 years of Super Justin: the Blog

Well I can't believe I'm saying this, but Super Justin: the Blog is now just about a decade old- this month will be the tenth anniversary of the site's launch back in 2009 (as well as my DeviantArt account). It's been quite the ten years, with Super Justin coming to an abrupt end after being my childhood dreams for all of the 2000's and the launching of Aozora's Adventure, WARMAN, and many other projects.

So what's in it for this blog? Well, not much, except maybe the removal of the art widgets on the sides of the blog since I don't update much (and the removal of some links to reduce clutter as I don't use most of them these days). Otherwise, I'll keep making stuff as fast as I can produce them.

In other news I'm also planning on doing more streams to Twitch once I get myself a good microphone. In the meantime you can check out my Twitch page here.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Mario Hack Series Recordings: Final(?) Release

It's been roughly eight or so years since the day I started ripping a plethora of music from various Super Mario Bros. ROM hacks. Dubbed the "Super Mario Hack Series Recordings" since its creation in January 2011, this project set out to record the best musics across thirty different hacks, resulting in an impressive count of 95 tracks total.

Last updated in 2017, here's the latest version of the project for your listening enjoyment:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Con schedule: 2019



Hey there, SJB here with all the conventions I plan to visit and the exact days I plan to visit them on. I won't be selling at them, just going as an attendee, so I'm only posting this this if you want to contact me (email, PM's, whatever) and meet up somewhere during convention hours for a chat, a selfie, a cosplay shot, etc.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Photoshop, why.

First of, since I forgot to make a post on this blog for New Year's Day, Happy New Year to the small number of readers of this blog and hope your 2019 is a good one.

Now back to the topic at hand. Since last night I have been running into severe issues with my copy of Adobe Photoshop CS5 running on my Mac OS X, which I've owned and proudly used since late November 2010 with little trouble.

My current situation is the following: If I open a project and proceed to click the project window with any sort of move tool, or click the top part of the toolbar to move it to a different part of my screen, Photoshop completely self-destructs and closes itself. I can click around on things like the layers window, swatches, and use shortcut keys to change my current tool, but if I do anything that involves clicking a project window with a tool that moves layers and other parts of an image, even after opening multiple windows, Photoshop can't handle it at all and just gives up.

This effectively means I cannot do any form of art-creation or sprite work, which is a shame because I wanted to return to doing art today after slogging through a Splatfest for several hours last night. My current options are either to somehow get these issues resolved, or go and buy the newest version of Photoshop which is locked behind a subscription. Until then I'm pretty much forced to go on a hiatus till I can work something out. Sorry, everyone.